Sunday, November 15, 2009

Folkmanis Puppets: The Best Educational Toys

We have always loved Folkmanis puppets. I'm convinced Folkmanis makes the best stage puppets, the best animal puppets, the best finger puppets, in the world. They use really interesting fabrics, very realistic designs, and somehow their puppets work as stuffed animals as well as puppets. All six of the puppets that live in our house are engaged regularly as denizens of the children's imaginary world. They are never relegated to puppet shows or ventriloquism.

You may remember that last year Folkmanis sent us a big box of puppets to give away at the G.U.E.S.S. Homeschool Science Fair. This year they did the same. My children gleefully watched while I unpacked the box, delighted over all the new puppets -- the woolly mammoth, the eagle, the iguana. There was even a nest of little birds you could animate with your hand. I felt very conflicted about letting my own children win these puppets, though! I knew that it wouldn't be fair for my own kids to win the most coveted prizes at the fair that I helped to organize. So, I told the children they could go to the Folkmanis web site and pick out whichever puppet they wanted for themselves, then at the fair the puppets in the box would go to other kids and they had to agree not to be sad. Sad? They were DELIGHTED. So, here are the puppets they "won":

Sadie chose the Chihuahua puppet.

Benny chose the dragon shoulder puppet. It has a stick that goes down behind your back through your shirt, so you can operate it surreptitiously with one hand while it appears to work on its own. VERY COOL! He had no problem figuring out how to work it immediately.

The GUESS Homeschool Science Fair is so grateful to Folkmanis for their continued support of our event. The youngest scientists were very very happy to take home fluffy friends. And parents everywhere are grateful to Folkmanis for making such delightful toys. The best educational toys are open-ended, lending themselves to many uses, letting the child's imagination take over. Among the best in this category, I'd count Legos, paper and pencil, and puppets. And when it comes to animal puppets, Folkmanis truly is in a category all by itself.


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